Protecting our wild creatures

August 20, 2018

Bald eagles. Peregrine falcons. Grizzly bears. Humpback whales.

The Endangered Species Act has been a critical tool in the preservation of these and many other species. Yet many plants and animals are at serious risk of survival due to human activity, including logging, mining, development, and climate change. In Oregon alone, dozens of species including salmon, whales, wolves, turtles, owls, and otters rely on protection from this bedrock conservation law.

But Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans are ramping up their attacks against these protections. Originally passed in 1973 with strong bipartisan support – at the behest of a Republican president – the Endangered Species Act has become a punching bag for Republicans railing against government overreach. This is all despite the fact that this law has kept 99 percent of species under its protection from going extinct – a stunning track record.

This year, these outrageous attacks took a new turn, becoming even more threatening. The Trump Administration has proposed a sweeping rollback of this law, weakening its most crucial protections and turning it into a rubber stamp for industry. At the same time, Republicans in Congress have introduced similar bills in the House and Senate in a coordinated effort to build more momentum to weaken this law. It’s a bleak outlook – but one we can and must change.

These species get no second chance. Once they are gone, that’s it. And if the Endangered Species Act goes extinct, so may they.

I won’t stand for it. And neither will the American people. Studies show that more than 4 in 5 Americans support the Act. We know that it helps keep human activity responsible and reasonable. And we know that without it, we risk losing what little balance it has been able to preserve.

I’ll stand strong against these attacks, speaking out and rallying against the threats they pose to some of our most iconic – and most humble – species. The future of iconic creatures, and of our planet as we know it, depends on it.